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Electric cars: from autonomy to charging

by ace
Electric cars: from autonomy to charging

Did you know that Europeans travel, on average, between 40 and 80 km daily on their commuting routes, between home and work? These are distances easily accomplished by any electric car available on the market. Therefore, there is an urgent need to demystify the most resistant prejudices, such as those related to autonomy and speed of loading. Depending on the actual circumstances of use, such as the type of route, driving style, occupation, use of auxiliary equipment – such as GPS, air conditioning and on-board entertainment applications – the range of an electric car varies considerably . Not to mention atmospheric factors, such as temperature and wind. In decision-making, it is essential to identify the usage profile (how many km / day? Consecutive or in stages? In the city or on the road?) And the ease of access to charging stations, whether at home, at work or along the road. path.

The development of charging infrastructure and the costs to be charged to consumers play a crucial role when deciding to switch to an electric vehicle. Many are reluctant because of autonomy and difficulties in accessing charging stations. But this skepticism must gradually become irrelevant for most European drivers, whose average daily journey is well below the range of any electric car. An recent research, carried out in Europe, indicates that the distance traveled daily can exceed 80 km in Spain and Poland, contrasting with the lowest value of only 40 km in the United Kingdom.

In Portugal, a study carried out in 2016 concluded that in Lisbon, the average daily distance on the route home-work was 45 km, 3 km more than in Porto, placing the national average at a value close to 50 km per day. These numbers are perfectly reachable by electric cars already available on the market, even those that assume a city vocation, such as smart EQ fortwo and forfour, which have autonomy for 135 km. Looking at the average calculated in Lisbon, you can travel up to three days without charging the smart EQ fortwo or forfour.

To facilitate the task of managing the charge cycles of the 96-cell battery, which equips smart EQ fortwo and forfour, the brand developed a smartphone application that is also compatible with the Apple Watch. At any time, it is possible to check the vehicle's status, through the smart EQ app, accessing various information, be it about charging, the remaining range or even about the efficiency level of the behavior of the driver. It is possible to plan shipments to occur, for example, during the night, when tariffs are most economical. It also provides information on available charging stations nearby, the identification of the energy supplier and the tariffs charged.

In Portugal, the public supply network began to be developed in early 2008 and had to overcome the challenge of developing customized software and equipment to create the entire system, from the ground up. The Mobi.E consortium has created a model adaptable to any business model and market configuration, and can therefore be exported to any part of the world. The development of the system has enabled the country to become a full-scale innovation laboratory, where the future of mobility is being shaped. It is an intelligent solution that integrates all charging systems for electric mobility in a single, open and universal platform. User-oriented, the system provides a public network of charging stations, to which is added the comfort of charging at home or in public parks, safely and at low cost. The user can supply the electric vehicle at any available station, with a single card, and can also use other services associated with charging.

The network, currently in operation, was instrumental in creating the necessary conditions for the launch of electric mobility in Portugal. The use of the network has been increasing steadily over the past three years, registering a 12% growth in 2019, reaching 1740 charging stations distributed by 103 municipalities and more than 9,300 registered users, thus facilitating the circulation of vehicles throughout the territory.

In the Mobi.E network, there are currently 304 stations with powers between 3 kW and 7 kW, in addition to the 100 semi-fast 22 kW stations, which will become more than 300 when the current expansion plan is completed.

The German consortium Ionity promises the world's largest and fastest electric vehicle charging network when it is completed. This year, the plan to install 400 service stations in Europe is expected to be completed, with 45 stations currently under construction to join the current network of 215 already active.

Startups that are dedicated to integrating chargers into public streetlights are also growing, as a simple and efficient way to expand the network infrastructure faster and at a lower cost.

Despite the growth trend, exclusively electric vehicles continue to represent a small market share globally. Perhaps because there is still a set of preconceived ideas that end up driving these cars away from the immediate purchase options: high price, limited autonomy, loading times and the reduced number of charging stations throughout the territory. Some experts also mention the lack of sensitivity of a large part of the population to the effects of car pollution on the environment.

In Portugal, 23% of harmful emissions to the atmosphere are the result of transport activity, therefore related to the transport sector and the mobility of populations. The global temperature has risen by about 0.8 ºC in the last 150 years and is expected to continue to rise. An increase of more than 2 ° C increases the risk of lethal changes to humans and the environment on a planetary scale. It is for all this that conducting a electric automobile it is, increasingly, a socially responsible act.

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